Knowledgebase
12 tips for improving your wireless network
Posted by Gabriel Yu on 14 March 2008 07:00 AM

 1 .

Position your wireless router (or wireless access point) in a central location:

When possible, place your wireless router in a central location in your home. If your wireless router is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home. Don't worry if you can't move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your connection.

 2 .

Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets):

Sheets of metal such as filing cabinets reflect wireless signals.  Large bodies of water such as fish tanks (and human beings) absorb wireless signals.

The closer your router is to these obstructions, the more severe the interference, and the weaker your connection will be.

Wireless signals going through walls and furniture will reduce the strength of your router's wireless signals. Also the angle at which the signal passes through the wall is significant, since wireless signals travel basically in a straight line. 

We also recommend that you mount your WAP as high as is feasible, as the signal will have fewer obstacles to travel through

 3 .

Change your wireless channel:

Wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels. Just like you'll sometimes hear interference on one radio station while another is perfectly clear, and that a radio station 'bleeds' onto nearby frequencies; sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others.

Try changing your wireless router's channel through router's configuration page to see if your signal strength improves. You don't need to change your computer's configuration, because it'll automatically detect the new channel.

You can use your wireless device's Site Survey tool to determine what other wireless LANs are in range of your PC. Netstumbler is also a useful tool for this, especially since its graphs show the strength of each signal.

For access points that are within range of each other, set them to different channels (e.g., 1, 6, and 11) in order to avoid inter-access point interference.

Where the other channels are used by your neighbours, change your Wireless LAN to a frequency that's as far away from the used channels.

 4 .

Choose wireless band:

802.11ac only uses 5GHz but 802.11n uses two bands 2.4GHz and 5GHz. As security cameras, cordless phones, wireless headphones, and most of such devices uses 2.4GHz frequency spectrum hence it is very congested and there’s vulnerability to 2.4GHz interference from microwave ovens too. 5GHz on the other hand is pretty much only used by Wi-Fi and you may get better performance on it in your home but not every device supports 5GHz hence you can test which band works best for you.

 

 5 .

Keep it away from interference:

Reduce wireless interference:

If you have cordless phones or other wireless electronics in your home, your computer might not be able to "hear" your router over the noise from the other wireless devices. To quiet the noise, avoid wireless electronics that use the 2.4GHz frequency. Instead, look for cordless phones that use the 5.8GHz or 900MHz frequencies.

The interference could be coming from other devices, such as a microwave oven. Try changing channels, as described above.

Reduce EMI interference:

 Electronic equipment emits EM radiation and EM radiation is not good for radio signals. It’s best to place your router away from other electronic equipment for this reason. It is suggested not to put it in your AV cabinet and most definitely do not put it near loudspeakers

 6 .

Update your router’s firmware and your computer's network adapter driver:

Draytek regularly make improvements to router firmware. Sometimes, these improvements increase performance. To get the latest firmware updates for your router, visit the download section of our Web site.

Similarly, network adapter vendors occasionally update the software that Windows XP uses to communicate with your network adapter, known as the driver. These updates typically improve performance and reliability. To get the updates, visit Microsoft Update, and then under Select by Type click Hardware, Optional. Install any updates relating to your wireless network adapter. When you go to Microsoft Update, you have two options: the Express Install for critical and security updates and Custom Install for high priority and optional updates. You may find more driver updates when you use Custom Install.

 7 .

Upgrade your router's antenna:

The antennas supplied with your router are designed to be omni-directional, meaning they broadcast in all directions around the router. If your router is near an outside wall, half of the wireless signals will be sent outside your home, and much of your router's power will be wasted. Most routers don't allow you to increase the power output, but you can make better use of the power. Upgrade to a hi-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals only one direction. You can aim the signal in the direction you need it most.

 8 .

Upgrade your computer's wireless network adapter:

Wireless network signals must be sent both to and from your computer. Sometimes, your router can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can't send signals back to your router. To improve this, replace your laptop's PC card-based wireless network adapter with a USB network adapter that uses an external antenna.

Laptops with built-in wireless typically have excellent antennas and don't need to have their network adapters upgraded.

 9 .

Add another WAP or a wireless repeater:

By adding another Wireless Access Point (not a wireless router) at the other end of your house you double the coverage area. If possible, connect the additional WAP by Ethernet cable to give highest speed.

Wireless repeaters extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless access point and your computer, and you'll get an instant boost to your wireless signal strength. Note that your wireless throughput will be halved (at best) because the repeater has to store and re-transmit every message.

By setting both AWPs to the same SSID, you only need one profile on your laptop or portable device and it will automatically connect to whichever has the strongest signal.

10.

Pick equipment using the same chipset:

Different manufacturers sometimes interpret the specifications differently, or provide additional features. Certainly it is easiest to test their one product with their other products, than to test with each product from each other manufacturer.

The conventional wisdom is that you often get better performance if you pick a router and network adapter from the same vendor. However these "brand name" vendors are building their devices from components from other manufacturers, including the wireless chipset or even complete wireless modules. The vendor can add high-level features and programming (such as error detection/correction and encryption), but the low-level characteristics and performance are provided by the wireless chipset.

In practice, devices incorporating the same chipset are likely to provide better base performance, irrespective of the Vendor.

11.

Upgrade 802.11n/g/b devices to 802.11ac:

The newest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, is roughly three times faster than the previous champion, 802.11n. The easiest and fastest way to get more performance out of your Wi-Fi network is to replace existing router with a new 802.11ac router.

For more details on 802.11ac, you can refer below link:

http://www.i-helpdesk.com.au/index.php?/default_import/Knowledgebase/Article/View/595/0/why-do-we-need-80211ac

12.

Change Encryption Method :

With WEP and TKIP encryption on 802.11n, the transmission rate for Wi-Fi data in client side will not be over 54Mbps hence you can configure security method as WPA2-AES for Wi-Fi client. Or, you can configure a profile with no security. However, it is not recommended.

IEEE 802.11n Draft does not allow users to unicast encrypted data with WEP or TKIP. If the user tries to use such encryption methods (e.g., WEP, WPA-TKIP) for transmitting data, the transmission rate will be lowered down to 54Mpbs automatically. You can refer: http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/sb/CS-025643.htm, for getting more detailed information.

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